Clean your own house
Jacqueline Vance, RN
It was recently announced that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents had alleged “sex parties” with prostitutes over several years. This was found from a review of allegations of misconduct by DEA agents.
Oh, and to make it even better, these alleged parties were funded by drug cartels. According to the report, the agents got carried away "at government-leased headquarters," and some of the agents "were provided money, expensive gifts, and weapons from drug cartel members.”
I'm feeling a little hypocrisy, but … whatever. That's not my main point. The point is that after the investigation, only seven of the agents admitted attending the parties and then were suspended for between two and 10 days.
What? Two-to-ten day suspensions? That's it?
But wait. According to the DEA, nurses can't be trusted to transcribe and communicate doctors' orders for Scheduled II pain medications. I guess it's an acceptable risk that patients suffer pain at or near the end of life.
A necessary casualty in DEA's eyes to prevent diversion, I'm sure. Why else would they come with guns blazing in nursing homes where it was discovered that protocol had been broken.
It doesn't matter that LTC has dozens of safeguards the community does not have to reduce the risk of diversion. A non-licensed administrative assistant, who is not assessing a patient in pain, is in a much better position to transmit a scheduled drug order to a pharmacy than a nurse!
Look, ever since 2009 when the DEA took the action to enforce the “Nurse Agent,” it has refused to meet with LTC coalitions and has never showed the “why” of whether this is an issue of diversion (and if so, show us the numbers) or following a paper trail.
Yeah, licensed nurses transmitting drug orders to a secure licensed pharmacy is much worse than having special agents with American secrets in a position to spill those secrets to drug cartel-funded prostitutes. That makes sense to me.
So while we still struggle to take care of our residents' pain and comply with our federal regulations for meeting our residents' needs, I say, “Clean up your own house before you come guns all a-blazing in ours!”
And, hey, maybe a better punishment for these wayward agents would be to send them to a nursing home in pain — and then let them wait an eternity for us to obtain pain meds. Just saying …
And just keeping it real,
The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.